Smith column: Bulldogs put up 49 points once again
It wasn't always pretty on Saturday, but for the second time this season, the Mississippi State
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Bulldogs put up 49 points offensively against another non-conference opponent.
Between the run of three straight Southeastern Conference opponents of Auburn, LSU and Georgia,
Mississippi State has done what it needed to do in terms of beating Memphis 49-7 and Alcorn State 49-16.
After reaching the 40-point mark a pair of times last season, it marks the first time MSU has done so twice in
back-to-back seasons since 1999 and 2000.
The Bulldogs gained control against the visiting Braves from Lorman in the first half and coasted to their third victory of the season.
By halftime, MSU already held a 35-16 lead and had almost 300 yards of total offense (296) so there was no doubt of the outcome at that point.
It was a good thing MSU had a good offensive day because Alcorn State came to Starkville ready to play from the opening kickoff.
There was a reason the Braves were undefeated coming into the game and they exposed some things in the defensive backfield of the Bulldogs.
Are the Bulldogs ready for Houston's air attack next week? That's a story for another day, but MSU ended up giving up a high number of yardage through the air (209 to be exact) to Alcorn State.
"We did not play as well as we wanted to," State linebacker Chris White said. "The second half we came out and did the job we were supposed to do and kept them from scoring."
Thanks to the 336 yards passing by the Bulldogs, the production from the Braves wasn't really a factor.
MSU was consistent with its passing game in the first half, while splitting time between
quarterbacks Chris Relf and Tyler Russell.
The first half completion percentage for the two signal callers was pretty much even. Relf, a junior, was 7 of 9 for 122 yards, while Russell, the redshirt freshman, was 7 of 10 for 89 yards. Neither threw an interception before halftime and both did some good things.
Relf ended up with the much better day, completing 11 of 15 pass attempts for a career-high 209 yards and two touchdowns.
It helps when you have targets like Chad Bumphis, Leon Berry, Chris Smith and Arceto Clark as receivers.
Bumphis showed he can do more than catch passes.
He lined up behind center a few times in what has become known as the Wildcat formation and had a long run of 24 yards out of that set in the first half.
As his career continues to progress, Bumphis is becoming more and more of a valuable weapon for the Bulldogs.
He seems to have a motor that runs continuously and even had the presence of mind to make a tackle in the second half after MSU lost a fumble that was picked up and ran by Alcorn State.
The play of Bumphis and the other Bulldogs was impressive enough to beat the Braves, but everyone concerned, especially head coach Dan Mullen, knows there are things to correct before going against tougher competition.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.